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Summary Report  |  December 2023

Cyber Intelligence Insights

Australian Charities

 

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Australian Charities
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TLP: WHITE

The CyberCX Intelligence Insights series presents focused, contextualised information intended to be read by senior decision makers. Prepared by the CyberCX Intelligence team, these reports present recent trends and future forecasts that will inform organisations’ cyber security posture and risk assessments.

This is a TLP:WHITE summary of the full report.

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Key insights

  • The overall threat level facing the Australian charities sector is high.
  • It is increasingly likely the sector will be impacted by data theft extortion attacks against commonly used third party services, such as file transfer platforms, or managed service providers.
  • The charities sector faces cyber threats from a range of actors including cyber criminals, nation-states and insiders.

 

  • Cyber criminals have a renewed focus on targeting small to medium sized organisation.
  • A key trend CyberCX is observing is the increasing scale and impact of cyber extortion attacks against third party providers.
    • Added pressure on organisations to understand, assess and manage their cyber risk in the case of a third party breach – something that can be particularly difficult for charities.
    • The risk of a third party breach is exacerbated due to the sector’s diverse operating environment and cross-sector dependencies.

 

 

  • A cyber attack on an adjacent sector could have a cascading and lasting impact to Australian charities.
  • Cyber extortion groups have conducted large-scale, global campaigns by exploiting vulnerabilities in file transfer services commonly used across several sectors.
    • Gateways to a wealth of data stored and transferred by organisations.
    • In June 2023, Cl0p claimed responsibility for widespread exploitation of the MOVEit secure file transfer application resulting in data theft from hundreds of organisations globally.
    • This type of incident is hard to defend against, but highlights the importance of patching and minimising the sensitive data charities hold.
  • A 2023 breach of an Australian telemarketing firm providing services to over 70 Australian and New Zealand charities exposed the data of 50,000 donors.
    • Some of the stolen records dated back 15 years.
    • OAIC commenced investigation into the incident for potential breaches of Australian privacy laws.
    • The telemarketing firm ceased operations in October.
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